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One of the consequences of this unclearness is the lack ~f standards by

which to measure progress. When the intergroup worker, coming home fr~m
Action Research and Minority Problems the good-will meeting which he helped to instigate, thin~' of t~e dlgn~toC1es
KURT LEWIN
he was able to line up, the stirring appeals he heard, the ImpressIve setting of
the stage, and the good quality of the food, he cannot h,:lp ~ut feel elated by
Mr. Baldau presents in a very clear way the challenge of the person who the general atmosphere and the words of praise from h,s fflends all around.
is trying to improve group relations. Although he is able to paint a relatively Still, a few days later, when the next case of discrimi~ation becomes known he
friendly picture about the situation in Cleveland, he is eager to stress that he often wonders whether all this was more than a whIte-wash and whether he
is not at all certain whether his report mirrors more than the surface. Mr. is right in accepting the acknowledgment of his friends as a measuring stick
Baldau can enumerate important progresses made by various minority groups for the progress of his work.
in the last decade, but he is not certain whether they will last or create counter- This lack of objective standards of achievement has two severe effects:
pressure strong enough to reverse the trend. He is quite in doubt about the
1. It deprives the workers in intergroup relations of their legitimate .desire
effectiveness of the techniques used for the betterment of intergroup relations,
without being able to offer suggestions for techniques which have been proved for satisfaction on a realistic basis. Under these circumstances, satIsfactIon or
to be effective. He asks, therefore, for action-research, for research which will dissatisfaction with his own achievement becomes mainly a question of tempera-
help the practitioner. In the last year and a half I have had occasion to have ment.
contact with a great variety of organizations, institutions, and individuals who 2. In a field that lacks objective standards of achievement, no learning
came for help in the field of group relations. They included representatives can take place. If we cannot judge whether an action has led forward or back·
of communities, school systems, single schools, minority organizations of a ward if we have no criteria for evaluating the relation between effort and
variety of backgrounds and objectives; they included labor and management achi~ement, there is nothing to prevent us from making the.wrong conclusi?ns
representatives, departments of the national and state governments, and so on. and to encourage the wrong work habits. Realistic fact-finding and evaluatIOn
Two basic facts emerged from these contacts: there exists a great amount is a prerequisite for any learning. Social research should ~ one of the top
of good-will, of readiness to face the problem squarely and really to do something priorities for the practical job of improving intergroup relatIOns.
about it. If this amount of serious good-will could be transformed into or-
ganized, efficient action, there would be no danger for intergroup relations in
Character and Function of Research for the Practice
the United States. But exactly here lies the difficulty. These eager people feel
to be in the fog. They [eel in the fog on three counts: 1. What is the pres- of Intergroup Relations
ent situation? 2. What are the dangers? 3. And most important of all, what The research needed for social practice can best be characteri2~d as research
shall we do? for social management or social engineering. It is a type of actIon-research,. a
We are presently conducting an interview survey among workers in inter- comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of SOCIal
group relations in the State of Connecticut. We wanted to know their line of action, and research leading to social action. Research that produces nothing
thinking, their line of action, and the major barriers which they encounter. Not but books will not suffice.
a few of those whose very job is the improvement of inter-group relations state This by no means implies that the research needed is in. any ~cspect less
that perhaps the greatest obstacle to their work is their own lack of clarity of scientific or "lower" than what would be required for pure scIence tn the field
what ought to be done. How is economic and social discrimination to be of social events. I am inclined to hold the opposite to be true. Institutions
attacked if we think not in terms of generalities but in terms of the inhabitants interested in engineering, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technolo~,
of that particular main street and those side and end streets which make up that have turned more and mor'" to what is called basic research. In regard to SOCIal
small or large town in which the individual group worker is supposed to do his engineering, too, progress will depend largely on the rate with w~ich basic
job? research in social sciences can develop deeper insight into the laws whIch govern

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social life. This "basic social research" will have to include mathematical and of laws can serve as guidance for the achievement of certain objectives under cer-
conceptual problems of theoretical analysis. It will have to include the whole tain conditions. To act correctly, it does not suffice, however, if the engineer or
range of descriptive fact·finding in regard to small and large social bodies. the surgeon knows the general laws of physics or physiology. He has to know
Above all, it will have to include laboratory and field experiments in social too the specific character of the situation at hand. This character is determined
change. by a scientific fact·finding called diagnosis. For any field of action both types
of scientific research are needed.
Integrating Social Sciences
Until recently, fact-finding on intergroup relations has been largely dom-
An attempt to improve intergroup relations has to face a wide variety of inated by surveys. We have become somewhat critical of these surveys of inter-
tasks. It deals wi th problems of attitude and stereotypes in regard to other group relations. Although they are potentially important, they have, as a rule,
groups and to one's own group, with problems of development of attitudes and used rather superficial methods of poll taking and not the deeper. searching of
conduct during childhood and adolescence, with problems of housing, and the the interview type used by Likert which gives us some insight into the motivations
change of the legal structure of the community; it deals with problems of
behind the sentiments expressed_
status and caste, with problems of economic discrimination, with political leader-
ship, and with leadership in many aspects of community life. It deals with the The second cause of dissatisfaction is the growing realization that mere
small social body of a family, a club or a friendship group, with the larger diagnosis--and surveys are a type of diagnosis---.<ioes not suffice. In intergroup
social body of a school or a school system, with neighborhoods and with social relations as in other fields of social management the diagnosis has to be com·
bodies of the size of a community, of the state, a nation and with international plemented by experimental comparative studies of the effectiveness of various
problems. techniques of change.
We are beginning to see that it is hopeless to attack anyone of these aspects
of intergroup relations without considering the others. This holds equally for The Function and Position of Research Within
the practical and the scientific sides of the question. Psychology, sociology, and Soc:lal Planning and Action
cultural anthropology each have begun to realize that without the help of the At least of equal importance to the content of the research on intergroup
other neither will be able to proceed very far. During the last five years first relations is its proper placement within social life. When, where, and by whom
timidly, now very clearly, a desire for an integrated approach has become ar- should social research be done?
ticulated. What this integration would mean specifically is still open. It may
Since we are here interested in social management let uS examine somewhat
mean an amalgamation of the social sciences into one social science. It may
mean, on the other hand, merely the cooperation of various sciences for the more closely the process of planning.
practical objective of improving social management. However, the next decade Planning starts usually with something like ~ ge~era~ idea. For one
will doubtless witness serious attempts of an integrated approach to social re- reason or another it seems desirable to reach a certam obJectIve. Exactly how
search. I am of the opinion that economics will have to be included in this to circumscribe this objective, and how to reach it is f requentIy not too clear.
symphony if we are to understand and to handle intergroup relations more The first step then is to examine the idea carefully i~ th~ lig~t of t~e means
effectively. available. Frequently more fact·finding about the sItuatIon IS reqUlre~. If
this first period of planning is successful, two items emerge: n~e1y, an over-
Two Types of Research Objectives all plan" of how to reach the objective and secondly, a deCISIon 10 .regard to ~e
It is important to understand clearly that social research concerns itself first step of action. Usually this planning has also somewhat modIfied the ong-
with two rather different types of questions, namely the study of general laws inal idea.
of group life and the diagnosis of a specific situation. The next period is devoted to executing the first step of the overall plan.
Problems of general laws deal with the relation between possible conditions
In highly developed fields of social management, s~ch as modern fa<.to?,
and possible results. They are expressed in "if so" propositions. The knowledge
management or the execution of a war, this second step IS followed by certam
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fact-findings. For example, in the bombing of Germany a certain factory may very significant developments. About two years ago the American Jewish Con-
have heen chosen as the first target after careful consideration of various prior- gress established the Commission on Community Interrelations. This is an
ities and of the best means and ways of dealing with this target. The attack is action-research organization designed primarily to function as a service organi-
pressed home and immediately a reconnaissance plane follows with the one zation to Jewish and non-Jewish bodies in the field of group interrelations. It
objective of determining as accurately and objectively as possible the new situ- is mainly interested in the group approach as compared to the individual ap-
ation. proach on the one hand and the mass approach by way of radio and newspaper
on the other. These latter two important lines are the focus of attention of the
This reconnaissance or fact-finding has four functions. First it should
evaluate the action. It shows whether what has been achieved is above or below research unit of the American Jewish Committee.
expectation. Secondly, it gives the plaoners a chance to learn, that is, to gather Various programs try to make use of our educational system for betterment
new general insight, for instance, regarding the strength and weakness of certain of intergroup relations, such as that of the American Council on Education. The
weapons or techniques of action. Thirdly, this fact-finding should serve as a College Study in Intergroup Relations at teachers colleges, the Citizenship Ed-
basis for correctly planning the next step. Finally, it serves as a basis for mod- ucation Study in Detroit, and, in a more overall way, the Bureau for Intercult·
ifying the "overall plan." ural Education. They all show an increased sensitivity for a more realistic, that
is more scienti lie, procedure of evaluation and self-evaluation. The same holds
The next step again is composed of a circle of planning, executing, and
in various degrees for undertakings specifically devoted to Negro-White re-
reconnaissance or fact-finding for the purpose of evaluating the results of the
lations, such as the American Council on Race Relations in Chicago, the Urban
second step, for preparing the rational basis for planning the third step, and
League, and others. It is significant that the State Commission Against Dis-
for perhaps modifying again the overall plan.
crimination in the State of New York has a subcommittee foe cooperation with
Rational social management, therefore, proceeds in a spiral of steps each research projects and that the Inter-Racial Commission of the State of Connec-
of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the ticut is actively engaged in research. The recent creation of major research in-
result of the action. stitutions at universities has also helped to broaden the vistas of many of the
existing action organizations and in making them more confident of the pos-
With this in mind, let us examine for a moment the way intergroup relations
sibilities of using scientific techniques for their purposes.
are handled. I cannot help feeling that the person returning from a successful
completion of a good-will meeting is like the captain of a boat who somehow I cannot possibly attempt even in the form of a survey to discuss the many
has felt that his ship steers too much to the right and therefore has turned the projects and findings which arc emerging from these research undertakings.
steering wheel sharply to the left. Certain signals assure him that the rudder They include surveys of the methods which have been used until now, such as
has followed the move of the steering wheel. Happily he goes to dinner. In that just published by Goodwin Watson; studies of the development of attitudes
the meantime, of course, the boat moves in circles. In the field of intergroup in children; studies of the relation between intergroup attitudes and such factors
relations all too frequently action is based on observations made "within the boat" as political belief, position in one's own group; experiments about how best to
and too seldom based on objective criteria in regard to the relations of the react in case of a verbal attack along prejudice lines; change experiments with
movement of the boat to the objective to be reached. criminal gangs and with communities; the development of many new diagnostic
tests; and last but not least, the development of more precise theories of social
We need reconnaisance to show us whether we move in the right direction
Change. Not too much of the results of these projects have yet found their
and with what speed we move. Socially, it does not suffice that university
way into print. However, I am confident that the next few years will witness
organizations produce new scientific insight. It will be necessary to install
fact-finding procedures, social eyes and ears, right into social action bodies. rapidly increased output of significant and practical studies.

The idea of research or fact·finding branches of agencies devoted to im- Example of a Chaneae Experiment on Minority Problems
proving intergroup relations is not new. However, Some of them did little more
One example may illustrate the potentialities of ~ooperation ~een
than collect newspaper clippings. The last few years has seen a number of practitioners and social scientists. In the beginning of thiS year the Olauman
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of the Advisory Committee on Race Relations for the State of Connecticut, teams who would keep up their team relationship after the workshop. This
who is at the same time a leading member of the Interracial Commission of the should give a greater chance for permanency of the enthusiasm and group
State of Connecticut, approached us with a request to conduct a workshop for productivity and should also multiply the power of the participants to bring
fifty community workers in the field of intergroup relations from all over the about the desired change_ A third group of delegates to the workshop wo~ld
state of Connecticut. receive a certain amount of expert help even after they returned to the commumty.

A project emerged in which three agencies cooperated, the Advisory Com· The faculty for the workshop included Dr. Lippitt as Pr?ject.Director, D~.
mittee on Intergroup Relations of the State of Connecticut, The Commission Bradford from the NEA and Dr. Benne from Columbia Umverslty. There IS
on Community Interrelations of the American Jewish Congress, and the Re- no time here to go into detail of the training procedure. ' However I should
search Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. mention a few points related to research.
The State Advisory Committee is composed of members of the Interracial Com- The first step in carrying out such a design calls for b~oad fact-fin~i~g
mission of the State of Connecticut, a member of the State Department of Ed- about the different types of intergroup problems which the varIous commumtles
ucation of the State of Connecticut, and the person in charge of the Connecticut have to face. Communities and teams of group workers in the communities
Valley Region of the Conference of Christians and Jews. The state of Con- would have to be selected so that the results of the three variations would be
necticut seems to be unique in having an interracial commission as a part of possible to compare. In other words, this project had to face the same prohlems
its regular government. It was apparent that any improvement of techniques which we mention as typical for planning process in general.
which could be linked with this strategic central body would have a much better
The experiences of the members of the State Advisory B?ard of the ~n­
chance of a wide-spread and lasting effect. After a thorough discussion of
terracial Commission of the State of Connecticut were able qUIckly to prOVIde
various possibilities the following change·experiment was designed cooperatively.
sufficient data to determine the towns which should be studied more accurately.
Recent research findings have indicated that the ideologies and stereotypes To evaluate the effect of the workshop a diagnosis before th~ worksh?p ~ould
which govern intergroup relations should not be viewed as individual character have to be carried out to determine, among other things, the hne of thmkmg of
traits but that they are anchored in cultural standards, that their stability and the community workers, their main line of action and the ~ain barriers they have
their change depend largely on happenings in groups as groups_ Experience to face. A similiar re-diagnosis would have to be earned out some months
with leadership training had convinced us that the workshop setting is among after the workshop.
the most powerful tools for bringing about improvement of skill in handling
To understand why the workshop produced whatever change or lack of
intergroup relatIons.
change would be found, it is obviously necessary to record scientifically t~e
Even a good and successful workshop, however, seems seldom to have the . happenmgs
essentIal - durmg
· t h e work sho p. Here • I feel • research faces Its
chance to lead to long-range improvements in the field of intergroup relations. most difficult task. To record the content of the lecture or the program w~uld
The individual who comes home from the workshop full of enthusiasm and by no means suffice. Description of the form of leadership has to take mto
new insights will again have to face the community, one against perhaps 100,000. account the amount of initiative shown by individuals and subgroups, the
Obviously, the chances are high that his success will not be up to his new level · ..
d IVlslon . ,!fito su"groups,
of the tramees 1.: the frictions within and between these
of aspiration, and that soon disappointments will set him back again. We are subgroups the Cflses and their outcome, and , a bove all • the total management
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facing here a question which is of prime importance for any social change, namely pattern as'it changes from day to day. These large-scale aspects, more than
the problem of its permanence. anything else, seem to determine what a workshop will accomplish. Th~ task
To test certain hypotheses in regard to the effect of individual as against which social scientists have to face in objectively recording these data IS not
group settings, the fulluwing variations were introduced into the experimental too different from that of the historian. We will have to learn to handle these
workshop. Part of the delegates came as usual, one individual from a town.
For a number of communities, however, it was decided the attempt would be . . d 'tn ' T · ·ng Community Leadership Toward
lSee summary of tralnln& prace ure H , ~'Irud R nald Lippitt Mult EJu<aI;on
made to secure a number of delegates and if possible to develup in the workshop More Effective Gruup Living," by Palmer ow:u an 0 .
Bulietin, August, 1946.
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relatively large units of periods and social bodies without lowering the standards aspects of group relations within the communities; when I heard the delegates
of val~dlty and reliability to which we are accustomed in the psychological and teams of delegates from various towns present their plans for city work-
recordmg of the more microscopic units of action and periods of minutes or shops and a number of other projects to go into realization immediately, I
seconds of activity. could not help but feel that the close integration of action, training, and research
The methods of recording the essential events of the workshop included holds tremendous possibilities for the field of intergroup relations. I would
an evaluation session at the end of every day. Observers who had attended the like to pass on this feeling to you.
various subgroup sessions reported (into a recording machine) the leadership Intergroup relations are doubtless one of the most crucial aspects on the
pattern they had observed, the progress or lack of progress in the development of national and international scene. We know today better than ever before that
the groups from a conglomeration of individuals to an integrated "we" and so they are potentially dynamite. The strategy of social research must take into
on. The group leaders gave their view of the same sessions and a number of account the dangers involved.
trainees added their comments. We might distinguish outside adversities and barriers to social science and
the inner dangers of research procedures. Among the first we find a group of
I have been deeply impressed with the tremendous pedagogical effect which
people who seem to subscribe to the idea that we do not need more social science.
these evaluation meetings, designed for the purpose of scientific recording, had on
Among these admirers of common sense we find practitioners of all types,
the ~ralOlOg process .. Th: atmosphere of objectivity, the readiness by the faculty
to dISCUSS openly theIr mistakes, far from endangering their position, seemed to politicians and college presidents. Unfortunately there are a good number of
lea.d t~ an enh~ncement of appreciation and to bring about that mood of relaxed physical scientists among those who are against a vigorous promotion of the
objectiVity whICh IS nowhere more difficult to achieve than in the field of inter- social sciences. They seem to feel that the social sciences have not produc:d
group relations which is loaded with emotionality and attitude rigidity even a- something of real value for the practice of social management and therdore wtll
mon~ the so-called liberals and those whose job it is to promote intergroup never do so. I guess there is no other way to convince these people than by
relations. producing better social science.
A second threat to social science comes from "groups in power"'. These
. This and similar experiences have convinced me that we should consider
people can. be found in management on any level, among labor leaders, among
actIOn, res~arch and train~ng as a triangle that should be kept together for the sake
politicians, some branches of the government, and among members of Congress.
of ~ny of Its corners. It IS seldom possible to improve the action pattern without
Somehow or other they all seem to be possessed by the fear that they could not
trammg personnel. .In fact today the lack of competent training personnel is
do what they want to do if they, and others, would really know th.e. facts. I
one of ~~ greatest hmderances to progress in setting up more experimentation.
think social scientists should be careful to distinguish between the legitimate and
The trammg of large numbers of social scientists who can handle scientific
not legitimate elements behind this fear. For instance, it would be most ~n­
proble?",s. but are als.o equipped for the delicate task of building productive,
healthy if the findings of the Gallup Poll automatically would determlOe
h~rd-hlttmg teams With practitioners is a prerequisite for the progress in social
sCience as well as m SOCial management for intergroup relations. policy for what should and should not become law in the Unite~ State.s. We
will have to recognize the difference between fact find~ng and FOhcy settt~g and
As I watched, during the workshop, the delegates from different towns all to study carefully the procedures by which fact findlO.g shoul~ be fed 10 the
over Con~ecti~t transform from ~ ~ultitude o.f unrelated individuals, frequently social machinery of legislation to produce a democratIc effect.
op~osed In th"lr outlook and theIr mterests, mto cooperative teams not on the
Doubtless, bowever, a good deal of unwillingness ~o face reali~ yes be-
baSIS of sweetness but on the basis of readiness to face difficulties realisticall
hind the enmity to social research of some of the people 10 power positions.
to apply honest fact-fmding, and to work together to overcome them' when YI
saw the patte.co of role-playing emerge, saw the major responsibilities move A third type of v"ry real anxiety on the part of practioners can be illustrated
slowly a~cordmg to plan from the faculty to the trainees; when I saw, in the by the following example. Members of community councils to whom I have had
final seSSIOn, th~ St~te Advisory Committee receive the backing of the delegates
for a plan of lmkmg the teachers colleges throughout tlIt: s·tat e WIt . h certaIn. 'See "Public Opinion Polls and Democro'ic Leadership," by Dorwin Cartwright,
/ollmal of So(iallsslJes, Vol. 2, No.2, May, 1946, p. 23-32.

43
the occasion to report results of research on group interrelations reacted with develop in the children, adolescents, and adults of minorities deep-seated an-
the feeling that the social scientists at the university or in the research arm of tagonism to their own group. An over-degree of submissiveness, guilt emotion-
some national organization would sooner or later be in the position to tell the ality, and other causes and forms of ineffective behavior follows. Neither an
local community workers all over the states exactly what to do and what not to individual or a group that is at odds with itself can live normally or live happily
do. with other groups.
They obviously envisaged a social science "technocracy". This fear seems It should be clear to the social scientist that it is hopeless to cope with
to be a very common misunderstanding based on the term "law". The com- this problem by providing sufficient self-esteem for members of minority groups
munity w~~~ers ,~ailed .to real~ze that lawfulness in social as in physical science as individua\s. The discrimination which these individuals experience is not
mea?s an If sO relatlOn, a hnkage between hypothetical conditions and hypo- directed against them as individuals but as group members and only by raising
thetIcal effects. These laws do not tell what conditions exist locally, at a given their self -esteem as group members to the normal level can a remedy be produced.
place at a given time. In other ~ords, the laws don't do the job of diagnosis
Many whites in the South seem to realize that one prerequisite for pro-
whlch.has to be done loca~ly. N~I.ther do laws prescribe the strategy for change.
gress is the enhancement of self-esteem of the southern Negro. On the other
In SOCial ma~agement, as In mediCine, the practioner will usually have the choice
hand, the idea of a positive program of increasing group loyalties seems to be
~etwee~ variOUs metho~s of treatment and he will require as much skill and
paradoxical to many liberals. We seem to have become accustomed to linking
ingenUIty as the phYSICian in regard to both diagnosis and treatment.
the question of group loyalty and group self-esteem with jingoism.
. It seems to be crucial for the progress of social science that the practitioner
The solution, I think, can be found only through a development which
Will ~ndcrstand that through social sciences and only through them he can hope
would bring the general level of group esteem and group loyalty which in
~o gain the power nec:ssary to do a good job. Unfortunately there is nothing
themselves are perfectly natural and necessary phenomena to the same level for
III SOCial laws an.d SOCial research which will force the practitioner toward the
all groups of society. That means every effort should be made to lower the in-
good. SCience gives more freedom and power to both the doctor and the mur-
flated self esteem of the 100 percenters. They should learn the prayer from
dered, to. ~emocra7 and fascism. The social scientist should recognize his
the musical-play, Oklahoma. "Dear God, make me see that I am not better than
responslblhty also In respect to this.
my fellow men." However it is essential to learn the second half of this prayer
that goes something like "but that I am every darn bit as good as he." From
Research on MaJorities and Minorities the experiences thus far I would judge that raising the self-esteem of the min-
. It has not .be'.'n the intention of this paper to discuss detailed findings of ority groups is onc of the most strategic means for the improvement of inter-
SOCial research
tw _ .In.Intergroup relations_ I feel, however
, , that I shou Id ment'10n group relations,
o POlOts which Illustrate, I think, basic aspects.
The last point I would like to mention concerns the relation between the
. Intergroup relations is a two-way affair. This means that to improve re- local, the national, and the international scenes. No one working in the field
latIOns between groups both of the interacting groups have to be studied. of intergroup relations can be blind to the fact that we live today in one world .
. In recent !ea.rs we have started to realize that so-called minority problems Whether it will become politically one world or two worlds, there is no doubt
are.1O fact maJoI1~ problems, t~at the Negro problem is the problem of the that so far as interdependence of events is concerned we are living in one world.
white,
. I that the f JeWIsh problem IS the problem of the non-J ew, an d so on, I t Whether we think of the Calholics, or the Jew., the Greeks, or the Negroes
IS a so. true 0 course that intergroup relations cannot be solved WI·thout al terlOg
. every group within the United States is deeply affected by happenings in other
certam aspects of conduct and sentiment of the minority gro 0 f h places on the globe. Intergroup relations in this country will be formed to a
mo t b 1 . th up. ne 0 t e
fid 0 stac
f s severe d cs 10 c way of improvement seems to be the notonous . lack large degree by the events on the international scene and particularly by the
o con ence .an .self-esteem.. of most minority groups . M'100rity
. groups tend fate of the colonial peoples. It will be crucial whether or not the policy of
to accept. d' t h e Imphclt
d .Judgment of those who have statuseven were h .
the Judg- this country will follow what Raymond Kennedy has called international Jim
ment IS IIecte agamst themselves. There are manY f orces w h'Ich tend to Crow policy of the colonial empires. Are we ready to give up the policy

44 45
followed in the Philippines and to regress when dealing with the United States'
dependencies to that policy of exploitation which has made colonial imperialism
the_ most hated i_nstitution the world over_ Or will we follow the philosophy
The Use of Clinical Methods in Social Psychology
whIch J~hn CollIer has developed in regard to the American Indians and which DONALD W. MACKINNON
the_ I~stItute of Eth~ic Affairs is proposing for the American dependencies. The problems of immediate concern in the areas of racial tensions and
~IS IS a pattern whICh leads gradually to independence, equality, and coopera-
international affairs presented to uS by the preceding papers are indeed a chal-
tIon: Wha~ever the effect of a policy of permanent exploitation would be on
lenge to contemporary methods of research in social psychology. It would be
th.e l.nternatlO,:al scene, it could not help but have a deep effect on the situation
pleasant to think that we have at hand the techniques to answer the questions
WlthlO the Umted States. !im-Crowism on the international scene will hamper
raised by these men. The truth is that we do not. But we should not let this
t~emendously progress of lOtergroup relations within the United States and is
discourage us. We have the beginnings and the faith that these, through our
likely to endanger every aspect of democracy.
collaborative efforts, can be developed into a sophisticated and adequate method-
The development of intergroup relations is doubtless full of danger and ology.
the development o.f social science in this field faces many obstacles. The pic-
ture: however, whICh I have been able to paint, the progress of research and Our Task: The Inves+iCJa+lon of Group Tensions
partIcularly that the organization of social research has made during the last The problems with which we are faced in these challenging papers exist as
Fe,,: years, makes me feel that we have learned much. A large scale effort of problems in our society and threaten the peace and happiness of our social liv-
SOCIal research on lOtergroup relations doubtless would be able to have a lasting ing because of the tendency of men to form groups from which other men are
effect on the history of this country_ acluded. There is nothing wrong with groups per Ie. Indeed, our war ex-
It is equally clear, however, that this job demands from the social scientists perience has shown us how much the health and morale of an individual depend
an utmost amount of courage. It needs courage as Plato defines it. It needs upon the character of the group of which he is a member. Group-formation
the best of what the best among us can give, and the help of everybody. becomes a problem of distre"ing social concern, however, when tensions are
established between groups, when the distinction between in-group and out-
group is sharply drawn and the aggressions of one directed against the other.
Our task is, then, in large measure, the investigation of these group ten-
sions. Though for economy of expression we refer to them as group tensions,
we must remember constantly that in the last analysis they are the tensions
that exist between individuals of opposed group memberships. Here, as in all
social psychological problems, the ultimate unit is the individual, not the group,
however true it is that the one can never be studied in isolation from the other.
If we ask, What psychologically are the carriers of these tensions? the answer
is, I believe, The needs, sentiments, attitudes, ideologies, prejudices, etc, which
set a person of a given group-membership against those who belong to another
or other groups. These carriers may, of course, be studied separately, but such
investigations can give at best partial answers to our questions, for in them the
individual as a whole is lost from sight and the personality correlates of the
single factor under study :lfe ignored_ Research of this kind has in the past
and must by its very nature always result in false conclusions and faulty over-
generalizations, for it ignores in practice a principle wh~ch in theory we all
accept-the theory of the multiple determination of behaVIor.
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